We're realizing is that Open Source is more than just free software. Free software is like free rocks. You need rocks, but rocks aren't enough to build a house. You get the Open Source effect only when you have a pyramid of people (roles, actually -- you can still get the Open Source effect if one person fulfills all these roles) associated with the project:
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This report is a summary of Zak Greant's Open Source Initiative activities for the weeks of March 30th to April 5th and April 6th to 12th, 2008.
... based on an extensive screening of software companies, with more than 700 responses.
Analysis shows that close to 50% of the software industry integrate OSS components into vertical solutions serving all major business sectors.
In addition, more than 30% of the companies using OSS components have over 40% of their income from OSS related services or software.
In my day job at Red Hat I see daily examples of open source best practices, be it at the architecture, infrastructure, or application level.
An Information Week article published last week appears to position Microsoft as trying to do something right when it comes to open source. And it positions the open source community as being not quite ready to make nice after past insults, threats, and abuse.
Are you a patent holder, wondering how to write software which implements your patent? Here's my advice: Patents expire. Towards the end of the patent's lifetime, you want to be trying to transfer the patent's franchise over to the relationship between the patent-holder and the licensee. That can be done with closed-source software, but you risk competitors writing their own software. With Open Source software, as long as you manage the relationship with the user correctly, you end up with a franchise.